FCE LTER Journal Articles


Spatial, geomorphological, and seasonal variability of CDOM in estuaries of the Florida Coastal Everglades


This paper demonstrates the usefulness of fluorescence techniques for long-term monitoring and assessment of the dynamics (sources, transport and fate) of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in highly compartmentalized estuarine regions with non-point water sources. Water samples were collected monthly from a total of 73 sampling stations in the Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) estuaries during 2001 and 2002. Spatial and seasonal variability of CDOM characteristics were investigated for geomorphologically distinct sub-regions within Florida Bay (FB), the Ten Thousand Islands (TTI), and Whitewater Bay (WWB). These variations were observed in both quantity and quality of CDOM. TOC concentrations in the FCE estuaries were generally higher during the wet season (June–October), reflecting high freshwater loadings from the Everglades in TTI, and a high primary productivity of marine biomass in FB. Fluorescence parameters suggested that the CDOM in FB is mainly of marine/microbial origin, while for TTI and WWB a terrestrial origin from Everglades marsh plants and mangroves was evident. Variations in CDOM quality seemed mainly controlled by tidal exchange/mixing of Everglades freshwater with Florida Shelf waters, tidally controlled releases of CDOM from fringe mangroves, primary productivity of marine vegetation in FB and diagenetic processes such as photodegradation (particularly for WWB). The source and dynamics of CDOM in these subtropical estuaries is complex and found to be influenced by many factors including hydrology, geomorphology, vegetation cover, landuse and biogeochemical processes. Simple, easy to measure, high sample throughput fluorescence parameters for surface waters can add valuable information on CDOM dynamics to long-term water quality studies which can not be obtained from quantitative determinations alone.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DBI-0620409 and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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